While both the Nevada Army National Guard and the Nevada Air National Guard experienced many successes in 2005, it was the losses that have garnered the most attention.
June 16, Spc. Anthony Cometa, of Las Vegas, was killed in a single vehicle rollover accident. Then on Sept. 25, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, of Fernley, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Flynn of Sparks, along with two other guardsmen, were killed when Taliban rebels shot down their CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.
Cometa was a member of the 1864th Transportation Company, while Stewart and Flynn were members of Company D, 113 aviation, which was activated in January and deployed to Afghanistan in March.
"It was especially trying on both counts because one was an accident and it might have been prevented, and that was frustrating. On the other side, losing two people was just devastating anyway you look at it," said Capt. April Conway, public relations officer with the Nevada National Guard. "I think those were the lowest points the guard experienced this year."
Medical Detachment 1st Sgt. Cate Summers, a 16-year veteran of the Nevada National Guard, said that while she didn't know the soldiers personally, she knows it's hard to watch friends be put in harm's way.
"You know these people when they go over and you see what they are dealing with and you just pray they come home," said Conway.
At Stewart's funeral, Brig. Gen. Randall Sayre, commander of the Nevada Army National Guard, said, "He understood when his unit was called up for Afghanistan - he knew the environment was dangerous and would be a challenge to his unit."
Conway said, " While we look forward to the 113th coming home, we know that one of our aircraft won't be coming home."
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.